Toothsome, fresh, and flavorful, heritage house-ground grains take the cake.
Around the West, bakers are adopting a field-to-loaf spirit, sourcing local heritage grains and baking with flour milled in-house. Grinding whole grains ensures both freshness and a truly whole-grain product. The resulting hearty, toothsome loaves and other baked goods capture the full range of complex, nutty flavors and aromas in each artisan crop. Taste what makes these breads and sweet treats so different at each of these craft bakeries.
Noble Bread, Phoenix
Owner Jason Raduch procures all-organic grain via direct contract with local farmers to craft hearty artisan loaves at Noble Bread in Phoenix. Take away a cranberry-walnut or semolina loaf from Noble Eatery, the retail space located just blocks from the bakery, or grab a seat in the salvage-chic café for a wood-fired personal pizza topped with bacon, potato, cheddar, and rosemary. Sandwiches, open-faced and otherwise, tempt diners: Avocado toast accented in Southwest style with tomato and Chimayo chile powder is a top seller.
Crispian Bakery, Alameda, California
On the little island of Alameda in San Francisco’s East Bay, a pair of alumni from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery make classic baked goods at Crispian Bakery. Breads rely on house-ground buckwheat, spelt, kamut, corn, hard red wheat, and soft red wheat, while pastries are primarily created from flour milled off-site. Sit at the marble counter and devour a flaky ham and cheese croissant, built jelly roll–style and showered with mixed seeds, or pair a classic croissant with a cappuccino. Take home a loaf of French onion soup bread or a fruit-topped olive oil mini-cake.
Manresa Bread, Campbell, California
The Manresa Bread café, opened in Campbell in November 2018, is a long-awaited offshoot of the three-Michelin-starred restaurant Manresa. The spare, white-and-pine space seats diners daily until 8 p.m. for treats like the shatteringly caramelized kouign amann or the whole wheat chocolate walnut cookie. Kraut and capers elevate the chicken schnitzel sandwich, and weekend brunch serves up French toast with mascarpone and passion fruit or a decadent croissant Benedict with spicy crab. Grab some goodies to go: Perhaps the signature levain, a chocolate babka, or a fragrant panettone.
Josey Baker Bread, San Francisco
San Francisco’s Josey Baker Bread crafts inventive loaves such as sweet potato and sesame, apple spice with toasted oat porridge, and black pepper Parmesan—all leavened with a sourdough culture that owner Josey Baker got from his great, great grandmother. A weekly rotating sandwich menu at the Mill—the café collab between Josey Baker Bread and Four Barrel Coffee—might include a seasonal option, like the winter sando with delicata squash, fresh apple, cranberry chutney, garlic aioli, and arugula. Thick, rustic slices of toast are crowned with butter and jam, golden beet hummus, and egg salad. Pizza brings in crowds after 6 p.m.
Tabor Bread, Portland
Wild yeasts work their alchemy on heritage grains ground daily in an Austrian stone mill at Tabor Bread in Portland. Hand-formed loaves ferment overnight while burning hardwood heats the brick oven. Come morning, bakers sweep out the embers and load the swollen loaves. Crackling hot, dark bread such as seeded red wheat and 100-percent spelt soon emerge. Watch the action from tables in this converted vintage house filled with folks tucking into sandwiches and pastries, carrying out breads like the fig walnut swirl—sweetly redolent with cinnamon and offered only on Saturdays—or nabbing a scone or biscuit. Go for a sweet bite, though: The coarse crunch of whole grains offers delicious contrast to smooth chunks in the chocolate chip cookie.
Hone and Grains, Springville, Utah
South of Provo, Utah, in the town of Springville, Honey and Grains bakes European artisan bread, along with sandwich bread and dinner rolls. Sweets trend toward classic American favorites such as pumpkin chocolate chip sweetbread, cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, and pie. Their sourdough, fermented with a century-old Italian culture, offers a chewy crumb and mild tang. Bring home a warrior bread—this hearty 11-grain pan loaf transforms sandwiches. With no seating inside and just one table outside, it’s a perfect pit stop for road trippers on the run.
Culture Bread, Spokane, Washington
Spokane’s Grain Shed—a co-op collaboration between a baker, a brewer, and a grower—houses artisan bakery Culture Bread. Palouse Heritage Grains supplies locally grown heritage and heirloom grains, along with ancient pre-hybridized varieties of wheat, barley, oats, and rye. The Polyculture Cookie reflects the ethos writ large: seven or eight grains, grown together in the same field in order to rebuild the soil, are the foundation of a chocolate chip, oatmeal, and molasses-ginger cookie hybrid. Purists embrace toast with house-cultured butter and seasonal jam, and sandwiches feature local cheeses and veggies. On Monday nights, enjoy wood-fired pizza with a craft beer in the rustic dining area.
This article was originally published in April 2019. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to confirm information.